Like a Local: Newcastle upon Tyne’s Best Coffee Shops and Cafes

by Rebecca Steel  |  Published February 8, 2017

Newcastle upon Tyne has morphed from a city of heavy industry into the nightlife capital of the North East, boosted by a thriving student culture and world-class music, art and sporting venues. Newcastle is renowned for being friendly, offering the warmest of welcomes, which can be experienced in any of its diverse coffee shops.

Tyne Bridge, Newcastle (Photo: Alex Liivet via Flickr)

Tyne Bridge, Newcastle (Photo: Alex Liivet via Flickr)

Coffee can always be found in close proximity to students, and this is very much true of the student areas of Newcastle. Jesmond is one such location; a leafy suburb towards the north of the city, home to several decent coffee shops, two of which have made it into our top ten.

With the exception of one quirky café in Heaton, the majority of the remaining establishments that we recommend belong to the city centre. Here there is something for everyone, from coffee specialists, to a French-style patisserie and even a café themed around its resident cats.

Flat Caps Coffee

The award-winning baristas at Flat Caps run two trendy establishments in Newcastle, both located centrally. It is fair to say that owner, Joe Meagher, takes coffee very seriously. Customers can choose whether to drink syphon, filter or aeropress coffee. The syphoning process is an old-fashioned, rarely found brewing method, using apparatus that look like they would be more at home in a laboratory. A choice of coffee type is also offered, which always includes a minimum of two guest roasts from companies in the UK and Europe. But coffee is not the only thing available in these much-talked-about cafés. Flat Caps serve luxurious hot chocolates and a range of teas, as well as mouth-watering soup, sandwiches and cakes.

13 Ridley Place/ 11 Carliol Square

Les Petits Choux

Les Petits Choux is pleasingly located next to Leazes Park and not far from St. James’ Park football stadium. This family-run café and patisserie is famed for its extravagant cream cakes. At least five types of éclair are created on the premises by the chefs, who will also sculpt delicate choux pastry swans for special occasions. But their talents don’t stop there. They masterfully bake flatbreads, cakes, scones and biscuits, which are all too tempting to resist alongside a cup of Union hand-roasted coffee.

11 Leazes Crescent

Pink Lane Coffee

Pink Lane Coffee (Photo: Samuel John courtesy of Pink Lane Coffee)

Pink Lane Coffee (Photo: Samuel John courtesy of Pink Lane Coffee)

Travellers using Newcastle Central should be delighted to find Pink Lane Coffee situated just a short distance across the road from the station. Coffee lovers will be pleased to know that its suppliers are some of the UK’s top speciality roasters, including Extract, Origin and Round Hill. Pink Lane Coffee’s espresso and slow bar menus allow full appreciation of the flavours of each brew. The coffee shop has even gone one step further and formed its own roastery called Colour Coffee. The small but airy café also serves local cakes, pastries and freshly made sandwiches.

1 Pink Lane

Quay Ingredient

Quay Ingredient has become one of Newcastle’s favourite breakfast destinations despite its relatively small size. Grilled kippers, cinnamon pancakes and smoked salmon with scrambled eggs are just a few of the treats on offer, as well as breakfast sandwiches served throughout the day on traditional North East Stottie buns. The café’s position underneath Tyne Bridge also makes it an ideal rest spot after walking the scenic Quayside area. Loose-leaf teas, coffees and plentiful soft drinks are available for the city’s thirsty explorers.

4 Queen Street

Olive and Bean

Olive and Bean (Photo: Rebecca Steel)

Olive and Bean (Photo: Rebecca Steel)

Olive and Bean’s city centre location makes it the perfect place for shoppers to enjoy a healthy breakfast, wholesome lunch or just a refreshing drink. Their menu items are ethically sourced and all cakes are baked daily on the premises. In fact, the choice of cakes is almost overwhelming, ranging from three types of scone, to all manner of sponge cakes, tiffins, rocky road and brownies. There are even two levels of afternoon tea for those wishing to indulge a little further.

17-19 Clayton Street

Super Natural

Catering for vegetarians and vegans, Super Natural serves meals that are healthy, completely natural and additive free. Situated right in the heart of Newcastle, the café is named after the establishment with the same name that resided here in the 1970s. Its comfortable coffee lounge is a convenient spot to relax away from the hustle and bustle of Grainger Street. Super Natural also opens late on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, serving evening meals and providing for parties with its fully licensed bar.

27 Grainger Street

Mog on the Tyne

Mog on the Tyne (Photo: Michael Baister courtesy of Mog on the Tyne)

Mog on the Tyne (Photo: Michael Baister courtesy of Mog on the Tyne)

Designed to worship all things feline, Mog on the Tyne is Newcastle’s first cat café. A time slot must be booked at this city-centre establishment to be able to meet the resident cats and kittens that have been re-housed from rescue centre, Westgate Ark. At the same time visitors can enjoy a coffee and treat themselves to cakes or gourmet sandwiches from the esteemed local supplier, Pet Lamb Patisserie. All proceeds are re-invested in the welfare of the cats, which are given a two-hour break each day. Sounds purrfect!

24 Pudding Chare

Butterfly Cabinet

Butterfly Cabinet (Photo: Paul Gallagher courtesy of Butterfly Cabinet)

Butterfly Cabinet (Photo: Paul Gallagher courtesy of Butterfly Cabinet)

To the east of the city centre, in the Heaton suburb of Newcastle, is a café so popular that locals are willing to queue outside for a table. Butterfly Cabinet is a child-friendly, eccentrically decorated café whose staff take great pride in the homemade food they serve and produce a decent cup of coffee. Their breakfasts take inspiration from New York diners, featuring omelettes, pancakes and muffins, as well as the traditional Full English. Hearty meals, especially burgers, are served for lunch in addition to an extensive range of sandwiches, with plenty of vegetarian options. Butterfly Cabinet can also be hired in the evenings for gigs and special events.

200 Heaton Road, Heaton

Cake Stories

Cake Stories (Photo: Rebecca Steel)

Cake Stories (Photo: Rebecca Steel)

Cake Stories is a cosy café just a stone’s throw away from West Jesmond Metro Station. It’s easy to see why this family-run business has developed a fine reputation for its cakes, despite only being open since May 2015. All of its sweet treats are baked on the premises and can be enjoyed up until ten o’clock most evenings. Customers rave about the café’s cupcakes, brownies and sponges, the favourites featuring ingredients like Oreo Cookies, Red Velvet, Peanut Butter and Salted Caramel. These can all be washed down with a well-crafted cup of coffee, or one of a vast range of black, green and infusion loose-leaf teas.

12 Brentwood Avenue, Jesmond

Café 1901

The comfortable hangout that is Café 1901 (Photo: Rebecca Steel)

The comfortable hangout that is Café 1901 (Photo: Rebecca Steel)

Café 1901 can be found in a tastefully refurbished hall at the back of Jesmond Methodist Church. As expected, the décor is themed around the turn-of-the-century, featuring old suitcases, birdcages and other items from that bygone era. Welcoming and relaxed, this is a popular hangout for students and families who head straight for the sofas when they arrive. The menu offers a variety of freshly prepared breakfasts and lunches with good quality vegetarian and vegan options. In addition the staff like to add a touch of creativity by experimenting with latte art and conjuring up novel ideas for cakes. Visitors can also enjoy free classical music recitals every now and again.

The Old Church, St. George’s Terrace, Jesmond